Contributed by: Anjali Sharma 

Introduction 

A lack of dopamine causes Parkinson’s disease, a neurological movement condition. The function of dopamine is to communicate with the area of your brain responsible for coordination and movement. 

Initial symptoms are mild, but as the illness worsens, they might significantly interfere with your daily activities. The illness often strikes in the middle or later life, most frequently when a person is 60 or older.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a medical condition where a portion of your brain degenerates, leading to symptoms that get more severe over time. 

This disorder can have a wide range of additional consequences on your senses, cognitive capacity, mental health, and more. It is most recognised for how it impairs muscular coordination, balance, and movement.

How does Parkinson’s condition affect the body?

Your brain’s basal ganglia suffer damage as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You lose the powers of those places formerly controlled when this area deteriorates. Researchers have discovered that Parkinson’s disease significantly alters the chemistry of your brain.

Neurotransmitters are substances that your brain utilises typically to regulate how brain cells (neurons) interact with one another. One of the most significant neurotransmitters, dopamine, is deficient in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Your brain uses cells that need dopamine to fine-tune your motions when it delivers the activation signals that instruct your muscles to move. Because of this, Parkinson’s disease symptoms like tremors and decreased movement are brought on by a shortage of dopamine.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease worsen and increase as the condition worsens. Later stages of the disease generally impact how your brain operates, creating dementia-like symptoms and sadness.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

  • A tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
  • Slowness of movement
  • Slowed movements (bradykinesia)
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

A tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head

While the muscle is at rest. About 80% of people with Parkinson’s disease experience this regular shaking of their muscles, even when they are not actively moving. 

Essential tremors, which seldom occur when muscles are at rest, are distinct from resting tremors.

Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time

Parkinson’s illness commonly manifests as cogwheel and lead-pipe rigidity. When moving a bodily component, lead-pipe rigidity refers to a consistent, unchanging stiffness. 

Tremor and lead-pipe rigidity together result in cogwheel stiffness. Its moniker is a result of the motions’ jerky, stop-and-go look.

Slowness of movement

You must experience this symptom in order for Parkinson’s disease to be diagnosed. People who share it describe their muscles as being weak, although there is really no loss of strength; instead, it is caused by issues with muscular control.

Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Parkinson’s disease causes impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls, which result in a slumped or stooped posture. This often manifests as the illness worsens. 

When walking, a person with it will take shorter, shuffled steps and use their arms less. While moving, turning may require multiple steps.

What causes Parkinson’s disease

The substantia nigra, a region of the brain, loses nerve cells, which results in Parkinson’s disease.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced by nerve cells in this region of the brain.

Dopamine serves as a messenger between the brain and nervous system regions that assist in regulating and coordinating bodily motions.

Dopamine levels in the brain are decreased if these nerve cells perish or suffer injury.

This indicates that the area of the brain responsible for directing movement cannot function as it should, resulting in abnormally sluggish and slow motions.

Parkinson’s disease stages

It may take years or even decades for Parkinson’s disease to have a serious impact.

Here are the stages :

Parkinson’s disease Stage 1: The Mildest Form of the Disease

The earliest stage of Parkinson’s disease is stage 1. Patients may suffer modest symptoms in stage 1; however, these symptoms are not severe enough to interfere with everyday activities or a person’s way of life. In fact, the early signs are so subtle that both patients and physicians frequently fail to notice them.

In this situation, the doctors provide medications that effectively lessen the symptoms and enable the patients to lead regular lives.

Parkinson’s disease Stage 2: Moderate Form 

Parkinson’s disease is present in Stage 2 in its moderate form, and its symptoms are noticeably more severe than those that were present in Stage 1. This implies that tremors, stiffness, and shaking issues become apparent, and alterations occur to numerous facial expressions.

While muscular stiffness delays the execution of any work, stage 2 never impairs balance. Instead, the patients can experience worsening walking problems and postural alterations. Another important aspect of the second stage of the issue is that at this stage, people have symptoms on both sides of the body as well as some speech issues.

Parkinson’s disease Stage 3: Middle Stage of the Problem

This stage represents the intermediate stage of Parkinson’s disease since it implies a significant change in the course of the disease. Although the symptoms of stages 2 and 3 are mostly the same, stage 3 is when you could start to lose your body balance and have impaired reflexes. 

Your entire body starts moving more slowly. Due to this, the issue greatly impacts people in its third stage while still enabling them to carry out their everyday responsibilities.

Parkinson’s disease Stage 4: Requires Assistive Devices for Physical Movement

When a person moves from Parkinson’s disease stage 3 to stage 4, their independence changes. Even if a person with Parkinson’s disease in stage 4 may be able to stand on his own alone, he still needs assistive aids, particularly a walker, to go around without any problems.

During stage 4 of Parkinson’s disease, the majority of persons will not be able to live alone due to severe reductions in their physical motions and response times. According to medical professionals, stage 4 Parkinson’s disease individuals who are left alone would not be able to carry out their daily responsibilities.

Parkinson’s disease Stage 5: Advanced Stage of the Issue

The final and most severe stage of Parkinson’s disease is stage 5. Advanced muscle stiffness in the legs can produce freezing issues while a person is standing, which prevents the patient from being able to walk or stand. 

As a result, people in stage 5 use wheelchairs since they are typically unable to stand independently. In addition, these patients require round-the-clock nursing care to avoid falls.

What tests will be performed to identify Parkinson’s disease?

Numerous imaging and diagnostic tests are available when doctors suspect Parkinson’s disease or need to rule out other illnesses. These consist of

  • A blood test (can help rule out other forms of parkinsonism).
  • CT scan (computerised tomography)
  • Genetic testing
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Parkinson’s disease treatment and medicine

Direct therapies and symptom treatments are the two types of medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Direct therapies go after Parkinson’s disease itself. Treatments for symptoms only address some illness consequences.

Other drugs can also be recommended by the doctor to treat Parkinson’s symptoms such as:

  • Dopamine agonists increase the brain’s dopamine production
  • By slowing down the enzymes that break down dopamine in the brain, enzyme inhibitors (such as MAO-B inhibitors and COMT inhibitors) can increase the quantity of dopamine in the body.
  • Amantadine to lessen uncontrollable movements
  • Anticholinergic medications to lessen muscular stiffness and tremors

Final thoughts 

The type of therapies used, the degree of the condition, and other factors all have a significant impact on how long it takes to recover and experience the results of Parkinson’s disease therapy. 

The best person to provide you with further information about what to anticipate from therapy is your healthcare physician. They can take into account any particular elements that can alter your experiences when providing you with information.

Here we have elaborated deeply on what Parkinson’s disease is, what causes Parkinson’s disease, and how to prevent Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s disease stages, Parkinson’s disease treatment and medicine. 

Furthermore, you should also undergo preventive health checkups. These health checkups give a complete report about your health, allowing you to take necessary precautionary measures to improve your well-being and keep a host of ailments at bay.

Book The Full Body Good Health Test Today!